I always like to reflect on past years and last year was a busy one for this family. Lets take a look back at 2019.
The year started out with wedding planning. Yes, our youngest was getting married and I was going to grow flowers for the wedding. I scoured seed catalogues and made some excellent choices. The only issue was finding flowers close to the blush colour our bride wanted. You see, there aren’t really any flowers close to that colour in nature and pink was completely out of the question. I converted the kitchen garden where we grow our vegetables to flowers.
Once word got out that I was growing wedding flowers I was asked to help with three other weddings. One thing I learned from doing wedding flowers is have the bride tell you their colours six months in advance. This enables us to grow the right flower colours for your wedding.
By March I was already planting seeds in the greenhouse. I had twenty-four flats of tomato plants for my annual plant sale and thirty-six flats of flowers for our garden. By the end of April the greenhouse was full to the brim with lush greenery.
Health wise my back started giving me grief. I should know better not to overdo it but it’s easy to do after having the winter off. I knew I had to increase my walking to strengthen my core if I wanted to continue gardening. I also needed to lose the extra weight gained when I broke a hip eight years ago. After two surgeries and mobility issues in between I needed to do something.
In April we started on the Keto eating plan. Our eldest daughter was losing weight and I wondered if it would work for us. Cutting out carbs isn’t easy for a bread lover like myself. By October we had both dropped twenty to twenty-five pounds and my eldest daughter has lost forty-five pounds. I haven’t felt this good in a long time. It wasn’t just eating the right foods but staying active was also important. I try to walk my ten thousand steps a day, sometimes more.
By the end of April I was planting the first cool season flowers of Cosmos, Iberis and Calendula in the raised beds. I was also getting plants hardened off for my plant sale. May meant that four hundred tomato plants would go to new homes and I no longer had to water them. All watering is done by hand in the greenhouse and outside. Hopefully an irrigation system will be installed in spring of 2020 so we can actually take a vacation.
We made a lot of changes in the garden in 2019 starting with the removal of some of the climbing roses. The garden underneath the roses is full of morning glory and I felt like a slave to the weeds. As we age I know they’ll have to come out so we can manage the garden more efficiently. In 2020 the plan is to remove all the old climbers and turf the area until we come up with a new design. That will leave us with a huge 30′ arbor sitting empty. It’s not very pretty so it will probably come down.
Farmer Jim had some new ideas for the garden last winter and while I was laid up with a sore back he dug deep holes and placed posts in them. Then we found some free pavers and he made a pathway between the poles. Old plants were removed and new plants went in.
May brought so many blooms to the garden but I was busy planting wedding containers and watering. There was so much to do from pinching to deadheading that I missed some of my other plants in bloom. I soon realized that flowers require more water than vegetables. The flowers that I grew from Floret Farm’s Sweetheart collection were truly amazing. I had bouquet after bouquet for the home. My flower obsession took over every container I had on hand. I had sunflowers in pots which had to be watered twice a day in the summer. I won’t do that again. The larger containers thrived with more soil moisture and were filled with flowers from Proven Winners.
July was wedding shower month so I started making several wedding arrangements for the tables and arbor to see if my daughter liked the flowers. She loved the white hydrangeas but they were finished blooming before the wedding in mid August. With drier summers, flowers that used to bloom in August years ago no longer do. I am not a florist but it was fun creating arrangements for the wedding arbor as I was able to use flowers from the garden. The only disappointment I had in the flower garden was the eucalyptus. It wasn’t the right variety so I ended up buying the right one from a local florist.
By the end of summer I was ready for a break and we headed to Vancouver island for a few days. I spoke at the garden club in Qualicum and fell in love with their quaint little town. It was my last presentation for the year after sixteen talks from February to August. I didn’t have any talks scheduled for fall and I was okay with that.
September’s shorter days brought us China asters. I was in love with this flower and its beauty. In October we had an early frost and I was glad to let the garden die back to the soil. I left most of the garden standing for the wildlife to enjoy and only cut back what I knew wouldn’t fall to the ground on its own. As I sit here reflecting on 2019 the garden is covered in a blanket of leaves. It’s been a mild winter so far and tulips are showing signs of new growth.
Overall 2019 was a fun but busy year. Between volunteering at a seed library, watching my granddaughter after school, helping with two garden tours, doing flowers for four weddings and making big changes in the garden, it seemed like we never stopped moving.
I am enjoying the quiet of the garden while it rests but I am eagerly looking at seed catalogues and planning my new Keto vegetable garden and some new surprise ventures for 2020. I enjoyed making arrangements so much this year that I am looking for new plants to add to the garden. This time I want shrubs and flowers that can be used in more than one season. I guess you would call them plants with purpose, ones that can be dried, used in crafts or lotions. After all, I need some type of garden experience in the winter. I made mini bouquets this month from flowers from the garden. Overall 2019 was a pretty decent year but I look forward to slower pace in 2020 if thats possible.
Wishing everyone all the best in 2020!